The Central Government has taken several initiatives to assess and improve the quality of teaching in the country as follows:
(i) In order to focus on quality education, the Central rules to the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 have been amended to include reference on class-wise, subject-wise Learning Outcomes. The Learning Outcomes for each class in Languages (Hindi, English and Urdu), Mathematics, Environmental Studies, Science and Social Science up to the elementary stage have, accordingly, been finalized and shared with all States and UTs. These would serve as a guideline for State and UTs to ensure that all children acquire appropriate learning level.
(ii) The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) conducts periodic national surveys of learning achievement of children in classes III, V, VIII and X. Four rounds of National Achievement Survey (NAS) have been conducted so far for class V and three rounds for classes III & VIII. These reveal improvement in learning achievement levels of pupils, in identified subjects from first round to fourth round. Further, a National Achievement Survey based on learning outcomes was conducted for Classes III, V and VIII on 13th November, 2017 with a sample frame upto district level to enable states/UTs to identify gaps in learning outcomes at district level and design strategies to address those gaps. Similarly, NAS for Class X was conducted on 5th February, 2018. NAS Reports show students’ learning levels against the expected learning outcomes of a particular grade and are used to provide feedback to the districts for further improvement.
(iii) Section 23(2) of the RTE Act has been amended to extend the period of in-service training for untrained elementary teachers to 31st March, 2019 in all the States and UTs. As per the above amendment, all untrained in-service teachers working in Government, Government- aided, and Private un-aided schools should acquire minimum qualification as laid down by an academic authority, authorized by the Central Government, by 31st March, 2019. The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) was entrusted to conduct this training through ODL (Open Distance Learning) mode. The online D.El.Ed. course has been started from 3rd October, 2017 and completed on 31st March, 2019.
(iv) A four year B.Ed integrated course to bring about qualitative improvement in teacher education programmes in India has been conceptualised and regulations for this course have been published in official gazette on 29th March, 2019 and applications have been invited w.e.f. 3rd June, 2019. The model curriculum prepared for this course includes crucial aspects like Gender, Inclusive education, ICT, Yoga, Global Citizenship Education (GCED) and Health & Sanitation. The teaching specialization would primarily be for the primary levels and the secondary level.
(v) The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Act, 2018 has been notified on 11th January, 2019. The said Act provides to empower the appropriate Government to take a decision as to whether to hold back a child in the 5th class or in the 8th class or in both classes, or not to hold back a child in any class till the completion of elementary education. The Act seeks to improve the learning levels of children and will lead to greater accountability and improvement in the quality of education.
(vi) The Central Government has launched an integrated scheme for school education named as Samagra Shiksha, w.e.f. 2018-19 which subsumes the three erstwhile Centrally Sponsored schemes of school education i.e Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), and Centrally Sponsored Scheme on Teacher Education (CSSTE). The common objectives of all these Schemes were to enhance access, to promote equity through the inclusion of disadvantaged groups and weaker sections and to improve the quality of education. The new integrated scheme envisages school education as a continuum from pre-school to senior secondary level and aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels.
(vii) Government of India has decided to participate in the Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA) to be conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2021. PISA is a competency based assessment which unlike content based assessment, measures the extent to which students have acquired key competencies that are essential for full participation in modern societies. Learnings from participation in PISA help to introduce competency based examination reforms in the school system and help move away from rote learning. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and NCERT are part of the process and activities leading to the actual test.
(viii) In order to experience and celebrate the rich cultural diversity of India, Rangotsav was held from 7th to 21st December, 2018 in schools, with participation of students, teachers and other stake holders. Rangotsav is focused on creating a non-judgmental platform for the participants to explore and express their artistic minds through dance, music, theatre, painting craft making etc. The fortnight-long event promoted a joyful learning environment with no restriction on expression of different forms of arts. It is a gate way for each state to get exposed to the cultures, arts and languages of other States and UTs and enrich the minds of students and enhance their thrust for knowledge.
(ix) In order to objectively evaluate the performance of the school education system in the States/UTs, MHRD has designed a 70 indicators based matrix called Performance Grading Index (PGI) to grade the States and UTs. The indicators have been chosen after detailed stakeholder consultation and the information on these indicators is drawn from the inputs provided by the respective States and UTs. This grading system will assist the States and UTs to identify the gap and design appropriate interventions to bridge them.
(x) Timely and accurate data is the basis of sound and effective planning and decision making. Towards this end, the establishment of a well-functioning and sustainable Educational Management Information System is of utmost importance today. In 2018-19, the UDISE+ (i.e. UDISE plus) application has been launched to collect data from all schools, so that it becomes an effective tool for decision making.
(xi) In order to provide supplementary learning material for students and for upgrading the skills of teachers, MHRD has developed a dedicated Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing (DIKSHA) platform. The high quality e-learning material both for students and teachers are uploaded by Ministry and States/UTs on this portal. This is expected to substantially augment the knowledge base of the students and technical skills of teachers at no additional cost.
(xii) The Government has launched Rashtriya Aavishkar Abhiyan (RAA) programme on 09.07.2015, to motivate and engage children of the age group of 6-18 years in Science, Mathematics and Technology through observation, experimentation, inference drawing, model building, etc. both through inside and outside classroom activities. The Central Government also supports States and UTs on early grade reading, writing & comprehension, and early Mathematics programmes through a sub-programme namely ‘Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat’ (PBBB) in foundational years of schooling.
(xiii) A single point repository of e resources called e- PATHSHALA containing NCERT textbooks and various other learning resources has been developed for showcasing and disseminating all educational resources including textbooks, audio, video, periodicals, and a variety of other print and non-print materials.
(xiv) MHRD has launched a Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) platform popularly known as SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active learning for Young Aspiring Minds) on 9th July, 2017. The portal is offering various online courses for school education and higher education. NCERT is developing course modules for Massive Open and Online Course (MOOCs) for school education system in 12 subject areas (Accountancy, business studies, biology, chemistry, economic, history, geography, mathematics, physics, political science, psychology and sociology) for classes IX-XII. Twelve (12) courses and twenty one (21) courses have been completed in the first cycle and second cycle (completed on 30 Nov. 2018) on SWAYAM platform (https://swayam.gov.in/) respectively. Nearly 22,000 students and 30,000 students were registered in the first cycle and second cycle respectively.
(xv) A programme for utilization of satellite communication technologies for transmission of educational e-contents through 32 National Channels i.e. SWAYAM PRABHA DTH-TV has been launched. Central Institute of Educational Technology (CIET)-NCERT is the national coordinator for one DTH TV channel i.e., Kishore Manch (#31) and has started feeding a 24x7 educational TV channel w.e.f. 09 July, 2018. Besides, NIOS is running 5 channels for teachers, for Secondary and Senior Secondary levels and for sign language.
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